Terry Gonda has been a loyal member and supporter of the Catholic church for decades, serving as musical director of her parish for over twenty years. She is gay, but never hid the fact from her family, friends, church or pastors. She was also married, to another woman, naturally. This wasn’t a secret.
However, somehow the word got to the Detroit Archdiocese, where it was deemed that her same-sex marriage made her morally unfit to keep her job. On June 12 she received an email reading, “The Archdiocese is choosing to activate its morality clause to terminate your employment.”
The blow came just three days before the Supreme Court ruled that employers couldn’t fire workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Whether the ruling will apply to religious organizations is the subject of other cases before the Court, which heard oral arguments last month in Our Lady of Guadalupe School vs Morrissey-Berru, a case about whether teachers at private, religious schools are subject to the exception in the Civil Rights Act.
Gonda says that her Catholic mentors and employers always modeled Pope Francis’s compassionate and tolerant attitude toward homosexuality. She was never shunned for being gay, nor after her 2011 marriage to Kirsti Reeve, 51. (That’s Kristi on the left, Terry on the right.) Terry told an interviewer that she is certain the Church believes “they’re doing the right thing — they’re trying to protect the church.” Continue reading